Coro de Cámara Brings ‘Tidings of Joy’

Angels made by David Alvarez, photographed by Blair Clark. Image used by permission of Susan Topp Weber, of Susan’s Christmas Shop. All rights reserved.

Coro de Cámara

Angels made by David Alvarez, photographed by Blair Clark. Image used by permission of Susan Topp Weber, of Susan’s Christmas Shop. All rights reserved.

Fresh from the success of November’s ‘Amuse-Oreilles (Amusement for the Ears)’ the chamber singers of Coro de Cámara offer a holiday gift to the community with their second virtual performance, ‘Tidings of Joy from Our Homes to Yours.’ This free mini-concert (donations gratefully accepted) will premiere at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 22, and be available thereafter through a link on the Coro website at

“In this concert, Coro shares four a cappella carols from Spain and the Basque region, which may be new to our audiences,” says Artistic Director Nylea Butler-Moore. “Taken together, they tell the traditional Christmas story.”

The first, “Gabriel’s Message,” is an old Basque folk carol, based on an early Latin carol. English musician Edgar Pettman arranged the carol for choir in the early 20th century, with English translation by Sabine Baring-Gould. It tells of the Annunciation – the Angel Gabriel’s visit to Mary with news of the child she will bear – and of Mary’s humility and the favor accorded her. 

Next is a joyful, mid-16th-century anonymous Spanish carol, “Dadme albricias, hijos d’Eva.” This dance-like song proclaims the good news of the birth of Jesus, the “new Adam.” Many years ago, Coro de Cámara performed this carol, and Butler-Moore is pleased to bring it back into the repertoire.  

A Coro women’s quartet then sings the spritely “Verbum caro factum est: Y la Virgen le dezia,” an anonymous 16th-century carol with a macaronic text in Latin and Spanish. Butler-Moore notes that this carol does not romanticize the Christmas story, but instead challenges the wealthy to alleviate the poverty of the newborn child.

The text of the final carol “I Saw a Maiden” is adapted from a 15th-century Basque Noel and was translated into English. Edgar Pettman also arranged this carol and added a beautiful lullaby refrain. Told from the perspective of a shepherd or a villager who overhears Mary singing softly to her baby, the carol ends with a prayer for peace and a final, soothing lullaby.

“This performance is literally from our homes to yours,” says Butler-Moore. “Since we can’t sing together in person during the COVID-19 pandemic, the singers recorded their parts in their own homes, using their own equipment. That was a challenge for the singers, as it’s difficult to sing in isolation, following a video guide track. It was also a challenge for our AV engineer Rick Bolton, but he has done an amazing job weaving the varied audio and video segments together into a beautiful whole. We hope this performance, our second virtual ‘experiment’ of the pandemic, allows the joy and hope of the season to shine through.”

Coro de Cámara invites the community to celebrate the holidays with them for ‘Tidings of Joy from Our Homes to Yours,’ beginning with the Premiere at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 22. Until then, Coro’s fall musical feast ‘Amuse-Oreilles’ is still available for viewing. Links to both virtual concerts may be found at